Bring Digital Citizenship Week Home

October 13, 2022

Digital Citizenship Week this year is October 17–21, 2022! 

Ten years ago, Digital Citizenship Week started to highlight the importance of helping kids, families, and teachers navigate our 24/7 digital world. Over those 10 years, media and technology have changed dramatically. There have also been big shifts in the ways we teach and learn in today's classrooms.

Digital Citizenship Week is a great time for school communities to start, renew, or double down on their commitment to engage students in learning important digital citizenship concepts and skills so they become safe, ethical and responsible citizens. FCPS has materials to support families on our Digital Citizenship webpage, including a course to help guide a conversation between parents and teens. 

What is Digital Citizenship and why is it important? "The past decade has seen an exponential increase in digital tools and opportunities, which carry the need for students to master a new set of life skills for behaving safely, ethically and responsibly online. Students are much more likely to understand good digital citizenship — the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use — when teachers and parents/trusted adults model it and explicitly teach and promote it on a regular basis." (Crompton)  


Bring Digital Citizenship Home

Please consider bringing Digital Citizenship home this week with the quick-hits below to jump-start a conversation with your students. 




Talk About How Your Student Can Avoid the Negative Effects of Oversharing Today, we live in a world overflowing with digital media and technology. All of us -- adults included -- have constant access to real-time information from around the globe. But do the benefits of being ever-connected also come with risks to our mental health? It's an important question to consider.

Use these questions to talk with your student about how the pressure to share on social media can affect them.

  1. What did you learn about different types of screen time this morning? 
    • Listen for (or prompt):
      • Active use is contributing content through posts, comments, or any other form of online communication and expression.
      • Passive use is scrolling through online content without reacting to it. Passive screen time may be more strongly linked to negative well-being, and active screen time is linked to positive effects.
  2. Do you think you spend more time using your devices actively or passively? 
  3. Are there any digital habits you have that you're thinking about changing? What changes are you going to try?




Talk About How Your Student Participates in and Responds to Social Media.   Social media gives us a chance to choose how we present ourselves to the world. We can snap and share a pic in the moment or carefully stage photos and select only the ones we think are best. Think about your choices.

Use these questions to talk with your student about how they present themselves online and why they make the choices they do when they share. 

  1. What are some benefits of creating a version of yourself online? How about drawbacks?
    • Listen for (or suggest):
      • A chance for self-expression and sharing interests or talents.
      • Focusing on only the happiest moments from people's lives.
      • Seeing unrealistic beauty standards from photo editing and filters.
      • Overthinking what you post causing anxiety or stress.
      • Old posts being seen by employers or colleges.
  2. What are some strategies for creating an online presence that feels most authentic to you?




Talk About How Your Student can stay safe online.  Did you know that every time you go online, you are giving away information about yourself? But just how much data are companies collecting? Think carefully before posting online. 

Use these topics to start a conversation with your student about what they share online.  

  • Anything on social media can be made public. Remind your teens that anyone can see what they post online -- even if they think no one will. Potential employers and college admissions staff often browse applicants' social media accounts. Ask your teens to think about who might see their profiles and how others might interpret their posts.
  • Online posts can be cut, altered, pasted, and sent around. Once they put something online, it's out of their control, which means it can be taken out of context and used to hurt them or someone else. Tell them that stuff posted online can last forever. If they wouldn't put something on the wall of the school hallway, they shouldn't post it online.
  • Avoid drama and hurting others. Help them think about the consequences of forwarding harmful messages or embarrassing photos. It's also hurtful to pretend to be other people by using their accounts or creating fake ones.
  • Don't post your location. Many social media platforms allow kids to post their locations. Although it might be tempting to use these features to connect with friends, it's just not safe for teens.
  • Watch the clock. It's easy to spend a lot of time on social media if you're not careful. Hours and hours can go by, which isn't good for your brain. 




Talk About How Your Student can Think Critically Online.  Advancements in computer-generated graphics, facial recognition, and video production have led to a world of viral videos that are often difficult to identify as fake. It's important that we learn to think critically about the news and media they encounter every day.  Our brains are great at using past experiences to make quick decisions, but these shortcuts can also lead to unintentional bias. "Confirmation bias" is when our brain's seek out information to confirm things we already think we know.

Use these questions to talk with your student about the key filtering questions below and how they can help us critically engage to distinguish between factual reporting and opinions online. 

  • WHO created this message?
  • WHAT techniques were used to capture the attention?
  • HOW could this message be interpreted by different people?
  • WHY is this message being communicated?
  • WHAT values, views, lifestyles are being expressed or omitted in this message?




Talk About How Your Student Can Limit Negativity Online

Texting and chatting online can sometimes feel just like talking to someone in person, but it's actually pretty different. It's all because of something called the "online disinhibition effect," which makes us more likely to share or communicate differently from how we would in person. Help your students learn to consider online disinhibition and its causes.

Use these topics to start a conversation with your student about what they share online.  

  • Anonymity: When you're online, it's easier to hide your real identity. This means that you might not face any repercussions if you do something mean. It can also help people open up, because they don’t have to worry about being judged personally. 
  • Lag time: Communication online doesn’t always happen in real time; there is often a lag between the moment you send a message and the moment you get a response. This makes it easier to be more impulsive when we post. It could also give people the time to pause and think before posting or responding to a comment. 
  • Lack of nonverbal cues: When you communicate online, you might not be aware of someone else’s body language. This makes it harder to know how someone else is really feeling.



Thank you for participating in Digital Citizenship Week at home to help our students enjoy the benefits of using technology in a healthy and balanced way.

For more resources on Digital Citizenship, we recommend you explore the following: